Miracles and dreams inspired many boys to seek out Don Bosco and enter the Oratory of Saint Francis de Sales.
Many pupils felt God Himself had prepared the Oratory for them with His loving mercy. Others believed that the Blessed Virgin obtained this grace for them and led them by the hand to enrich them with her blessings.
Still others came to the Oratory by special invitation from Don Bosco and Holy Mary.
Don Bosco, a Master of Spiritual Direction
Thus, we will tell a simple fact, repeated hundreds of times over the years, as told to us by a good mother.
Mrs. Rosa Rostagno came to Turin on business with her 15-year-old son Severino.
After taking care of some business affairs, she called on Don Bosco, eager to make his acquaintance. She was enchanted by Don Bosco’s affability when he took Severino aside and spoke some of those mysterious words into his ear that had worked so many wonders before. Because of the distance, the mother did not hear the words, but she was amazed to see their effect on her son. They left the Oratory happy to have seen Don Bosco. The son kept Don Bosco’s words to himself and never confided them to anyone.
As they were leaving, Don Bosco told Severino, “Write to me sometime, and I will answer you.” The young man delayed writing since he did not write well.
His mother urged him to put himself in the presence of Don Bosco and write as if he was speaking to him. He kept putting off the task, even though he claimed that he had many things to say to Don Bosco. Finally, Severino gave in and wrote to Don Bosco, who answered him with the following reply:
Learn All About the Prophecies of Our Lady of Good Success About Our Times
My beloved son, your letter pleased me. If you felt great consolation when we were together, imagine what joy we will have when, with God’s help, we will praise our Creator in heaven for eternity. Take courage, therefore, my son. Be firm in the faith, grow daily in the holy fear of God, and avoid bad companions as if poisonous serpents. Frequent the Sacraments of Confession and Communion. Be devoted to Mary Most Holy, and you will certainly be happy.
When I saw you, I seemed to have discerned some design of Divine Providence over you. When you come to see me, I will speak more clearly and you will know the reason for certain words I said.”
May the Lord grant you and your Mother health and grace.
Pray for me.
Father John Bosco
Upon receiving this letter, Severino eagerly sought to see Don Bosco, but his mother could not take him due to her business. Finally, on the eve of the feast of Saint Severinus, the young man asked her to take him to see Don Bosco as a birthday present. His mother agreed, and the next day he went to Turin and spoke at length to Don Bosco. He urged his mother to put his education in the hands of Don Bosco. Although he encountered difficulties, they were overcome with the following letter:
Dearest in the Lord,
If, as a good soldier, you feel you can endure staying in our boarding house, I will give you a place free of charge. Your mother must pay the expenses of books and clothing. Ask those who have already been among us what to wear. If everything goes well, come soon, and we will work wholeheartedly for the good of your soul. God bless you.
Yours affectionately, Father John Bosco
10 Razones Por las Cuales el “Matrimonio” Homosexual es Dañino y tiene que Ser Desaprobado
The young man flew to the Oratory to study there.
Enrico Bonetti Strumbles Across His Vocation in Turin
Other boys were led by Our Lady’s inspiration to join the Oratory.
Enrico Bonetti was born in Caprino province of Bergamo. At age 24, he was clothed in the clerical habit but had to abandon it after a very serious financial difficulty blocked his path to the priesthood. As a result, he needed to find employment and thus went to Turin, where he obtained a job. However, he maintained his intense longing for the priesthood.
He suffered greatly from the bad company in the house where he stayed. He was also forced to work on Sundays and found it difficult to exercise pious practices. When he had free time, he would go to the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation to beg the Holy Virgin to take him away from the dangers of the world.
Our Lady listened to his fervent prayers. One Sunday evening, he wandered along the avenue near the Oratory. At a certain point, he heard some young men jubilantly shouting coming from a house neighboring the Church of St. Francis de Sales. He stopped for a moment, bowed his head, and, deeply moved, said tearfully, “Oh, how happy those young people must be!”
He then asked a nearby person about this house with so much festivity. He was told it was the Oratory of Don Bosco. He entered and introduced himself to Don Bosco, opening his whole heart to the man of God. He made it clear to him that his family’s dire financial straits would prevent him from paying his seminary tuition. Don Bosco accepted him and invited him to join the happy inhabitants of the Oratory. After a few months, he expressed his desire to devote his life entirely to the work of the Oratory.
Don Bosco perceived he was a young man of virtue and knowledge. Don Bosco provided him with clothing, books and all necessities.
Eternal and Natural Law: The Foundation of Morals and Law
Enrico Bonetti became a real treasure for the Oratory. He was ordained a priest and always spoke of the mercy and goodness of Our Lady.
A Young Man Searches For His Vocation… and Finds Don Bosco
One day, another young man of the same age told a priest of his desire to join some religious order or congregation. However, he added that for one reason or another, he could not find one that suited him.
The priest replied, “Our Lady loves you so much that if you do not find an order or congregation that you like, she will create one for you that is to your liking. You will see.”
One Sunday, that young man went to pray the Holy Rosary before the altar of Our Lady in his village church. Eager to know God’s will for his future, he asked Blessed Mary to give him light to know his vocation.
The following day as the Angelus bell rang, he heard a distinct voice in his ear say, “Go to the town of L, and you will find Don Bosco.”
He had heard of Don Bosco more than once. He had once gone to Turin to ask his advice without meeting him. He knew he was the founder of the Oratory, but he knew nothing about the Society of St. Francis de Sales. None of his friends knew much about Don Bosco either. However, he quickly confided what the voice had told him to three good friends, who told him, “The country of L is only an hour away from here. Go and see.”
The young man agreed, and went the next day to L with one of his friends.
Unacquainted with the parish priest, he called upon an old chaplain who had taught in his village. He asked him if he knew Don Bosco. The chaplain replied that he did not know him but that the pastor was in contact with the founder of the Turin Oratory.
Science Confirms: Angels Took the House of Our Lady of Nazareth to Loreto
The young man then visited the parish priest and told him of his failed attempt to meet Don Bosco in Turin. The pastor told him that Don Bosco would be visiting the parish in eight days.
Full of joy, he returned home. The other two friends asked him about Don Bosco. The young man triumphantly answered, “He is coming! He is coming!”
The young man introduced himself to Dom Bosco eight days later. Don Bosco looked at him and asked his name and birthplace. The young man told him his name. After a brief conversation, Don Bosco said, “Tomorrow, come with me to Turin.”
The young man followed him without further ado. Note that neither then nor later did he disclose what the mysterious voice had said to him at the ringing of the morning bell. Arriving at the Oratory, he found the Congregation that Our Lady had prepared for him according to his liking. He happily dwelt there.
Dreams Come True… in a Literal Sense
Several young men were inspired to enter the Oratory due to sudden thoughts that popped into their minds. For example, a young man attending public school struggled with discipline and studies. His father told some friends about his son’s unwillingness to study and his financial straits that prevented sending the boy to a boarding school. The friends told him about a certain priest who had opened a school in Valdocco where the pupils did well at a small expense. The father objected that his son would not go there. The latter jumped up to say, “Father, put me in that place, and you will see that I will stay there.”
I Have Weathered Other Storms: A Response to the Scandals and Democratic Reforms that Threaten the Catholic Church
However, the young man then worried about losing his freedom at the school. However, that night he had a dream. He appeared to be in a courtyard holding some papers in his hand. He saw many young men applauding a priest standing on the balcony of a house. He then went up the stairs to kiss the hand of that priest.
After a few months, he entered the Oratory having fully forgotten the dream. He adjusted with some difficulty to life at the school. He had not yet seen Don Bosco, who was away for several weeks.
One day at recess time, a teacher gave him a bundle of papers to take to one of the superiors. As he descended the stairs, he heard lively applause and cheers. He ran into the courtyard. Don Bosco had returned from his journey and was on the balcony. Everything in the dream was coming true. He was with papers in his hand. There was the same courtyard, the same crowd of young people, the same house and the same priest. Remembering the dream, he followed its narrative by going up to the balcony and kissing Don Bosco’s hand.
Another boy told of his experience. “I was about ten years old. For several days I had been concerned about my future. While sleeping, I saw a priest standing at the gate of a magnificent garden. I approached the gate, and the priest took me by the arm and invited me to enter: He said to me, ‘Here you will spend your life.’ That dream made such an impression on me that for several days I lived recollected, devout, and frequently went to Church. After several years, that scene was still vivid in my mind. When arriving at the Oratory, I met the priest of the dream, and I soon understood the garden to be our Salesian Society.”
FREE READ: Defending a Higher Law: Why We Must Resist Same Sex “Marriage” and the Homosexual Movement
The boys later received holy orders and firmly persevered for decades, working among the youth entrusted to them by Don Bosco himself.
Pietro Racca Asks, and Our Lady Answers
Pietro Racca of Volvera took up residence in the Oratory at the age of 17. He was a simple boy who had spent his early years in the countryside. He was mocked for his manners by fellow students. Racca never complained. He was a slow learner and had a poor memory. Thus, he often did not know his lessons. He was upset because such a defect could prevent him from continuing his studies for the priesthood. As a result, he frequently prayed and had recourse to Our Lady.
One morning, Racca was unusually cheerful. A companion asked about the cause of his joy. He told them that on the previous night, Our Lady had appeared and granted him the gift of memory. Upon hearing the story, some admired him while others laughed. Racca was not offended, nor did he reply.
When called by Professor Francesia Giovanni, he recited the lesson to the amazement of all. Henceforth he had no problem learning the lessons. He became extraordinary among his classmates. This sudden change in him could be ascribed only to a grace Our Lady granted him. This gift stayed with him throughout the rest of his life.
FREE READ: A Pastoral Revolution
Upon telling these stories, the Cleric Anfossi exclaimed before his students, “You young men are in the Ark of salvation. In this house, the Lord prepared for you a father, his servant, to be your guardian. By divine light, he will draw you back from evil, from the abyss of perdition; by his holiness he will make you fall in love with God and His Mother; he will make you angels on earth worthy of the triumph that awaits you in heaven. O you fortunate ones!”